by Joel Legnutt, DP staff
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013,
(KABUL, AFGHANISTAN) —As the U.S. is preparing for possible military action in Syria while withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Obama administration is quietly working with the Taliban to help the radical Muslim group ease their violent tendencies and become mellower. The administration’s secret weapon for achieving this..? What else –yoga!
Correct, the Obama administration has since May been teaching yoga to captive Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and “all those willing to give themselves up to happier, tranquil, chakra–centered lives,” according to the Pentagon, Tuesday, in a peculiar endeavor the Pentagon has named “Operation Taliyoga Nights” (a spin-off from the 2006 Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights).
Said Army Major Luis Alonzo, spokesperson for Gen. Lloyd Austin III, commander of U.S. forces within “CENTCOM” (U.S. Central Command), “We have been inviting Taliban members to come to our bases and outposts in Afghanistan for a cup of nice chai and weeks of learning all the styles and positions of stress-releasing yoga. We’ve had our captive Taliban go through the (yoga) techniques, too, and found it really helps mellow them. We’re very pleased with the results, minus an occasional suicide bombing or two during a yoga class.”
Alonzo said the program of teaching yoga to mainly mountain–dwelling, illiterate Islamic fanatics is meant to reduce their hostility not only to coalition forces but to political opponents, non-Muslims, women, young boys, and humanity in general.
“One day (U.S. military forces) will no longer be in Afghanistan. Everyone knows that,” Alonzo said. “But the Taliban will remain. That is why we need to ensure we have the most content, comfortable and spiritually at-ease Taliban possible. We want a relaxed Taliban, a gentler Taliban, not those pesky decapitators and suicide bombers of the past. We want a happy Taliban that knows how to release their fanaticism in healthy, productive ways.”
The White House has yet to directly comment on “Operation Taliyoga Nights”.
“Taliyoga Nights” was first tested last year among a group of “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo). According to those who taught yoga to the detainees daily, remarkable progress was made in reducing incidents of violence among themselves and to guards.
“It took a couple weeks, but we began seeing dramatic changes in the levels of hostility of (the detainees),” said Gitmo Army psychologist and expert yoga instructor, Sharon Levinko, Tuesday. “It’s amazing how calming an effect just an hour of yoga a day had on the most violent of jihadists. They used to pelt guards with everything from vomit, to urine, to their own feces and blood. But now they’re only ‘hosing’ the guards with their urine and threatening to kill only them, not them and their entire families if they’re ever released —a remarkable turn-around in attitude, if you ask me.”
Sixty to 90 minutes of yoga a day can have the same calming effects on someone suffering from chronic anger or depression as 60 milligrams of valium, or the equivalent to 1.3 shots of Old Granddad per hour, says Major Daniel Thurman, M.D., a Marine psychiatrist based in Quantico, Virginia. According to Dr. Thurman, getting Taliban fighters into the habit of at least an hour of yoga per day, be it hatha, or vinyassa, or kundalini yoga could mellow them to the point where they may wish to lay down their arms and extremist beliefs and return to their villages and farms as regular Afghans.
Said Major Thurman to Duh Progressive, “We would offer the Taliban insurgents valium or lithium, but since (the Taliban) don’t believe in taking man-made drugs, we’ve had to improvise; think outside the box, as Marines are trained to do. And so we chose yoga.”
Taliban, U.S. Soldiers Share Yoga Training Experiences
The White House is banking that with a price tag of 12 million dollars a month until the complete withdraw of U.S. forces (wink, wink!), “Operation Taliyoga Nights” will leave Afghanistan a blissful land of eternally scuttling indigents, and the Taliban a happy-go-lucky band of “chill seekers,” who will finally know truly productive methods of relieving their anger.
“I was a little nervous at first doing these foreign exercises and relaxation techniques,” said 24-year-old Nawaz Qadri, who was captured in a firefight six months ago in Afghanistan’s deadly Tangi Valley. “Having American soldiers standing behind our American yoga instructor with guns trained on us didn’t exactly put me in the ‘relaxing mood’, you know? But I got used to it. …Now it’s like: yo, it all cool, man!”
Corporal Andres Swenson of the Marines’ Camp Leatherneck, a U.S. base notorious for its lack of activity of any kind, let alone enemy engagement, said there have been some bumps in the road in teaching captured enemy combatants the glories and lasting benefits of daily yoga workouts, but it steadily seems to be working. “We had this one ‘Tali’ charge us outside the base one day, completely wrapped in dynamite, ready to self-detonate. We shot the detonator out of his hand and took him immediately in for some intense ‘restorative yoga,” Swenson recalled.
“A few weeks of daily yoga later the guy was as cool as a cucumber, so we let him go. Then the next day the guy came back, but this time only with one stick of dynamite, not 24, like before. He blew off his arm and head before we could stop him. …That’s when I knew the yoga was working. He was much calmer than when we first encountered him.”
“Some Taliban have come to us voluntarily, but most here we’ve captured during reconnaissance or engagements,” said Sergeant Oscar Cruz, Tuesday. “I don’t know if this ‘Cowabunga Night’ thing is a cure-all, but it’s sure calmed the insurgents here once they realized that if they don’t take the (yoga) courses they’ll be in prison forever. …They seem to like the ‘child’s pose’ and ‘down dog’ positions most. I guess being Muslims anything that requires them crouching with their butts in the air they’ll like.”
However not all U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are so optimistic about “Operation Taliyoga Nights”. Army gunner and Private Leroy Calhoun of Camp Dwyer, in the infamous Helmand Province, expressed his doubts while leaning against his M1 Abrams tank’s mounted 50-caliber machine gun, Monday. “I dunno if all this here ‘yogurt’ shit’s gonna work,” said the Jasper, Alabama native as he spit a monstrous stream of chewing tobacco on to the ground. “Last month me and the team here came upon some Taliban —about a dozen—, and when they ran out of RPG and AK ammo they charged my tank with grenades. So I aimed and squeezed off ‘bout a hundred-plus rounds from this here 50-cal. When the dust cleared I saw the most peaceful, chilled-out Taliban you could imagine. I blew the shit out of their chakras! Trust me, I ‘relaxed’ the shit out of ‘em!”
“…Hey, they wanna teach these Taliban something that can keep ‘em cool and tranquil..? Well, I’m the teacher…and here’s the lesson,” added Calhoun, leaning over and giving his .50 a prideful slap.